Or so says Cameron O’Reilly, Executive Director of the Energy Retailers Association of Australia:
As a reward for his efforts in the field, O’Reilly received the 2008 Fulbright Professional Australia-U.S. Alliance Studies Scholarship sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. (Oddly, in 2004, another Cameron O’Reilly paid an estimated $250 million to become the world’s largest producer of electricity meters.)
Contrary to the ’emotive debate driven by unions’, O’Reilly claims that the privatisation of electricity in NSW will be a boon to (domestic) consumers — formerly known as ‘citizens’ — just as it’s been in Victoria. Sherrill Nixon (There’s a price to pay for power sell-off, The Age, April 26, 2008) certainly agrees; others, such as Kenneth Davidson (Victoria and SA: private power’s “shining lights”, The Age, September 14, 2002) aren’t quite so sure.
See : StopTheSellOff.org.au for more information. Also :
- 1) Damien Cahill and Sharon Beder, ‘Regulating the power shift: the state, capital and electricity privatisation in Australia’, Journal of Australian Political Economy, 55, June 2005, pp. 5-22:
This article examines the process of electricity privatisation in Australia in order to identify the dynamics of neo-liberalism in practice. It is argued that neo-liberalism is best understood as a particular mode of regulation in which the state legislates to secure freedoms for capital. In the case of electricity privatisation the main beneficiaries have been corporations rather than consumers and this has been facilitated by a whole host of new state regulations.
2) Damien Cahill and Sharon Beder, ‘Neo-liberal think tanks and neo-liberal restructuring: Learning the lessons from Project Victoria and the privatisation of Victoria’s electricity industry’, Social Alternatives 24(1), 2005, pp. 43-8:
In 1990, neo-liberal think tanks the Institute of Public Affairs and the Tasman Institute collaborated with 13 employer associations to form ‘Project Victoria’ – a venture which outlined a neo-liberal agenda for the incoming Victorian (Coalition) Government. This article analyses Project Victoria and the privatisation of Victoria’s electricity industry as a case study of the impact of neo-liberal think tanks. The analysis of Project Victoria highlights three main aspects of the impact of neo-liberal think tanks in contemporary Australia. First, neo-liberal think tanks are inextricably bound to the interests of business. Second, neo-liberal think tanks provide a broad framework within which sympathetic governments can convert the sectional interests of business and elites into policy and rhetoric. Third, the think tanks play an important role as shock troops for neo-liberalism.
More generally, see Sharon Beder’s articles on ‘Electricity Privatisation and Deregulation’.